Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Survey of the Heart

Mark 8:38
"If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in His Father's glory with the holy angels."

You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. ~C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Early on in his ministry, Pastor Wallace shepherds a small flock, a congregation of fewer than fifty folks.

He is persuaded by a well-meaning associate to conduct an anonymous survey of the members to see where they stand on issues of faith.  It will help, he is promised, to meet more specifically the spiritual needs of the fold.

The Monday after the survey is taken on Sunday, Wallace sits at his office desk to peruse the findings.  Because the congregation is not large, the age-group range, he soon discovers, removes the anonymity of certain members.  Allows him to know exactly who answered the questions.

And, more importantly, quite disturbingly, how.

The question that imparts the most distressing answers is as follows:
"Who do you say Jesus is?  a)  A good man, b)  The Messiah, c)  A good teacher, d) A liar".

A young man, the only member fitting the 18-25 age bracket, has attended this church along with his extended family since infancy.  His answer?  "A good man".

The oldest member of the congregation, the only one in the 75-85 range, who has attended this church for fifty years, answers, "A good teacher".

Wallace is shocked.

Heartbroken.

This is not at all what he expects to see.  After preaching Jesus as Lord and Savior.  Messiah.  Sunday after Sunday after Sunday . . .

Because, to declare Jesus to be anything other than the Christ is to deny Him.

Reject Him.

To call Him a liar . . .
~
Who do you say Jesus is?

Will you join me in prayer?
Never let us be ashamed, Father, to call Your Son, Jesus, our Lord and Savior.  May we fearlessly declare His salvation to a hurting world in need of the love and redemption only He can give.  Amen.

Readings
Psalms 69:1-23 (24-30) 31-38 or 73
Exodus 1:6-22
1 Corinthians 12:12-26
Mark 8:27-9:1 

26 comments:

  1. Undoubtedly in my mind Jesus is the Messiah and no other answer can be considered...Only through him can we be redeemed. It's always nice to visit and be reminded of what is truly important. Love how you use everyday stories to deliver the message. Take care!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for dropping by today, David, and I'm so glad you enjoy the stories (I try!).
      Yes, only through Christ, the Messiah, can we be forgiven and saved. There are plenty of good men and good teachers, but only one Redeemer.
      Blessings to you!

      Delete
  2. Amen! I wonder what people are hearing with their spiritual hearts that they will come up with these kinds of answers, Martha?!! Oy!
    I pray they get saved soon!

    Glory to God and thanks for demonstrating faith daily!! WOOT!!
    :-))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great to see you here, Bernie!
      I think Pastor Wallace was thinking the same thing when he read these disturbing answers. I do know he prayed a lot for these folks! Let's hope they both found the Lord and claimed Him as their Savior.
      Blessings to you!

      Delete
  3. Good Morning Martha. You have a thought provoking post this morning. Jesus is my Lord but I no longer expect the world to embrace him the same way that I do. Even I have come to see him differently over the years. One thing I do know is that God is love, and Jesus is the answer to bridging the gap between our fallen nature and our heavenly father.
    Sending love this spring morning.
    Leah

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Leah!
      No, we can't expect others to see Jesus the way we see Him, but to limit His crucial role as the Son of God and our Redeemer by calling Him just "a good man" or "a good teacher" is to miss the whole point of His life, His death, and His resurrection.
      Jesus is our saving grace, the One who reconciles us to the Father and gives us the promise of eternal life.
      Hugs and blessings!

      Delete
  4. Wonderful post Martha,I felt terrible also calling upon God after a long gap.All human beings have plenty to be ashamed of, the religious and the irreligious.
    But as the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
    The only people who will ever be saved are people who are ashamed of themselves and not ashamed of Christ. If you will not be ashamed of yourself, then you will be ashamed of Christ because you will reject His message.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for stopping by with another thoughtful comment, Alpana!
      You are so right! We have everything to be ashamed of because we all "sin and fall short of the glory of God". That is precisely why we need the Savior. We should be thanking Him for what He has done for us with every breath we take.
      Beautiful commentary! :)
      Blessings always!

      Delete
  5. I suppose many of us have trouble with faith and/or putting our faith to words. Your post is a great reminder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Rachel, for dropping by today!
      Yes, sometimes it can be difficult to express our deepest convictions to others. I have been there back in what I call "my dark ages".
      Yet, if we truly believe, it is imperative to share with a hurting world that needs to know of God's great love and salvation through Jesus.
      Blessings to you!

      Delete
  6. Oh Martha, that is so true. Declaring Jesus as The Messiah, as our Savior, as MY Savior, heals me. I hope and pray that today's world will see Him that way so that they may be healed the way that He heals me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Irene, for stopping by today!
      I so share in your hope and prayer that the world will see our Lord, Jesus, as the Christ and Savior all of us, so fallen and broken, need. He is the Healer!
      Blessings to you!

      Delete
  7. Hello Martha. Happy Thursday!
    There can only ever be one Messiah and Jesus Christ, the unique Son Of God, is the one. So many people today are under the misconception that Jesus himself is God. How can that be possible one might ask? Well, before Jesus was born a human man, he lived as a spirit in Heaven and walked beside his Father, Jehovah God. Jesus was & is the mirror image of his Father. This is proof then that there must be a higher power than Jesus himself. Jesus was blemish-free, perfect in every sense of the word. His own words were spoken in truth because they were inspired of his Father. So, to then proclaim Jesus a liar would be the same as calling God a liar.

    I agree with David. By using everyday stories, it's a great way to deliver important messages. Thank you for sharing this post today. Thank you too for always encouraging & supporting me whenever I post. It's what keeps me inspired to continue writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Andy!
      Wow! You've given such insight here - calling Jesus a liar is saying the same about God. I don't think anyone in their right minds would want to do that!!!
      I'm so glad you enjoy the posts. I certainly can't write stories all the time, but love it when I can to get the message across.
      Thank you, too, for all the support and encouragement you give me. May we both stay inspired! :)
      Blessings always!

      Delete
  8. confusion of faith is always a dilemma of the unsure. Even when we have been ensconced in a certain religion for a life time, it does not mean we have the faith of a true believer. I find myself in this category often, I know what my faith is, but if I had been asked those very questions no one would have liked the answers I am afraid. I pray and I love, I forgive and I ask forgiveness. I am but human and all that goes with it, I don't aspire to be anything more.
    I love your posts Martha, Your faith is so strong it is nearly visible, I hear it in your words I feel it in your love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Jan, your words are too kind! I am thankful that the Lord laid it on my heart to write devotions, but I, too, learn and grow in faith as I read the scripture and listen for His inspiration. I am a fellow traveler on this spiritual journey, hitting bumps in the road, and learning as I go.
      Like you - praying, loving, forgiving, asking for forgiveness. We are all in the same boat!
      Blessings to you!

      Delete
  9. Martha, that is a very good question to ask!! I look to you post, to help me on my journey. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by, Cathy!
      I'm glad my posts encourage you in your faith walk. That's what I pray they will do for all who read them.
      Blessings to you!

      Delete
  10. Your faith is always inspiring. Great post. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Jessica!
      So gratified to know this inspired you today. I am thankful for the gifts God has so graciously given.
      Blessings to you!

      Delete
  11. It's a subject I have debated my entire life. I've fallen in and out over the years. I am ever curious, but I think of my self as more spiritual than religious, I do find your posts thought provoking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great to see you here, Brenda, and thanks for stopping by!
      Here is my take on "religious" and "spiritual" - I see being "religious" as simply going through the motions of worship or scripture study while "spiritual" is seeking earnestly for God's presence and truth in every breath I take. Does that make sense to you?
      Blessings to you!

      Delete
    2. Martha, like Leah said, I no longer feel that it's important for everyone else to take a stand on Jesus and judge them according to that (not that you were doing that of course). I have realized that faith is a very personal thing and especially in a multi-religious country like mine, I'm happy when my non-Christian friends acknowledge the Jesus is a good man and a great teacher.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for stopping by today, Corinne!
      I certainly see your point here, especially since you do live in India where there are many religions practiced. What I was going for here is the idea that Christians are precisely the ones who should know this answer. Persons of other religions cannot and should not be held accountable whatsoever.
      Blessings to you!

      Delete
  12. Right now, I ask myself who God is in my life? Who am I living for?

    This is a very good reminder to look into what I've been doing these past couple of months and redirect my focus on God who instead of being at the center is almost always displaced.

    Thank you for your reflections. I pray with you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When Pastor Wallace told this story in one of his sermons, it really hit home for me, too. Are we staying focused on who the Lord truly is? Are we letting others know what we believe and why?
      I'm glad that reading this has made you want to reflect, too. So many times, when I write about situations here, I have been through the same struggles in the past.
      Thank for stopping by and for your precious prayers!
      Blessings, my friend!

      Delete

Was I Dreaming of a White Christmas?

1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 There is no need to write you, friends, about the times and occasions when these things will happen.  For you your...